City to mark anniversary of pandemic today

by Kate Dolan
Posted 3/16/21

Mayor Jim Kenney announced that the city will mark one year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Philadelphia with a day of reflection on Tuesday, March 16.

It was on March 16, 2020 that the first …

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City to mark anniversary of pandemic today

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Mayor Jim Kenney announced that the city will mark one year of the COVID-19 pandemic in Philadelphia with a day of reflection on Tuesday, March 16.

It was on March 16, 2020 that the first restrictions went into place for nonessential businesses and government activities in Philadelphia. A year ago on March 10, 2020, the World Health Organization declared that the world was in a pandemic.

“We’ve lost family members, friends, coworkers, and neighbors,” said the mayor in a press release, March 11. “Our physical and mental health, economic well-being, and human connections have all been impacted. As we continue to fight back against COVID-19, I hope Philadelphians will also join me in taking time to reflect on what we've all experienced together.”

The day of reflection, organized by the Office of the City Representative and Office of Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs, will begin with words from the mayor which will be shared on @PhiladelphiaGov and @PhillyMayor social media accounts.

Symbols of acknowledgment, from ringing bells to candles, have been requested for 12 noon at places of worship to honor those lost to COVID-19. At 1 p.m., the weekly COVID-19 update press conference will feature remarks acknowledging the anniversary from Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley and Mayor Kenney. Livestreams are available on PHLgovTV, Comcast Channel 64, Verizon Channel 40, and on the Department of Public Health’s Twitter and Facebook pages.

Philadelphians can watch a virtual event, “We Are a City Changed: Ritual and Reflection After One Year in Pandemic,” at 5:30 p.m. on Facebook or register here. At 7 p.m., buildings around the city will light up in blue to honor first responders.

At last Tuesday’s COVID-19 press update, Dr. Farley reflected on the last year and commented on the current state of Philadelphia’s fight against the virus.

“When this epidemic first hit the city of Philadelphia, I looked at some of the numbers and came up with a rough estimate, if we did nothing, of how many people would die from it,” said Dr. Farley. “And the rough estimate was 6,000 deaths.”

Over the last year, the city has recorded a total 121,881 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 3,191 have lost their lives to the pandemic.

“So we’ve lost many people in Philadelphia but we’ve all saved many people. And the vaccine now should make a huge difference,” he said.

By Friday morning, March 12, 468,553 total doses of the vaccine had been administered in Philadelphia. The vaccine supply provided to the city has increased each week. The figure the city uses to measure its vaccination distribution efficiency — the total number of first and second doses administered to patients each week — nearly doubled the first week of March, going from 51,300 for the week ending on February 28 to 90,000 doses administered the week ending on March 7.

The vaccines are now being administered at 134 different enrolled provider sites including 40 clinics and 58 pharmacies. Also March 9, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health announced five new city-run vaccine sites, which will open the weeks of March 15 and March 22 and will join the four it is currently running.

“This is not over yet but I’m very optimistic that each month in spring, things will get better,” said Dr. Farley. “So after all these tough months over the last 12 months, we are finally winning.”

For more information, including vaccine updates, site locations and vaccine sign up, click here.

To read about the city’s response to COVID-19 over the past year, click here.

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